India, Philippines ink deals boosting bilateral ties

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New Delhi, Oct 5: Visiting Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here today, and discussed with him issues of bilateral and international interest. On the second of Arroyo's three-day visit, several agreements and memorandums were signed to boost bilateral relations between India and Philippines.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo signed a joint declaration on bilateral cooperation and combating international terrorism.

The joint declaration to combat international terrorism envisages information sharing, cooperation amongst law enforcing agencies, cooperation in capacity building and in the prevention and suppression of the financing of terrorist acts, an External Affairs Ministry release said.

Mukherjee and Romulo also signed agreements on the establishment of a joint commission on bilateral cooperation.

The joint commission will be co-chaired by the Foreign Ministers of India and the Philippines, and will meet on a bi-annual basis. It will strengthen and develop trade, economic, scientific, technological and other fields of bilateral cooperation between the two countries on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.

The Agreement on "Exemption of Visa Requirements for Holders of Diplomatic Passports and Official Passports," also signed today envisages allowing entry in either country to diplomatic and official passport holders for a period of 30 days at a time without visas.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Indian External Affairs Ministry and Philippines Foreign Affairs Department on Cooperation between their Foreign Service Institutes (FSIs) was also signed to explore the possibilities of jointly organising courses and seminars in either country.

The Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on Enhanced Cooperation in the field of Renewable Energy was signed by Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Vilas Muttemwar and the Philippines Secretary of Energy, Hon. Angelo T. Reyes.

The MoA between Indian New and Renewable Energy Ministry and the Philippines Energy Department provides for the conduct of research and development activities, exchange of technical experts, conduct of training and organisation of conferences.

An MoU on the utilisation of a 15 million dollars Credit Line was signed by Exim Bank Chairman and Managing Director T C Venkat Subramanian and Ambassador of Philippines to India, Teresita Vega Berner.

Memorandum of Agreement between the State Trading Corporation of India and the Philippines International Trading Corporation envisages import and export products between the two countries.

The products of export interest from India include rice, sugar, wheat, corn, flour, drugs and medicines, pharmaceutical ingredients, medical equipment and cement. The items of export interest from the Philippines include coconut, fatty acids, coconut oil, mining ore, fertilizer, processed food, personal care products, resins, adhesives, consumer electronics, bio-diesel and jatropha seeds.

The MoA was signed by the Chairman and Managing Director of the State Trading Corporation of India, Dr. Arvind Pandalai and President and Chief Executive Officer, Philippines International Trading Corporation, Jorge Mendoza Judan.

India-Philippines Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Health and Medicine was signed by the Secretary, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Naresh Dayal and Berner.

Diplomatic relations between India and Philippines were formally established in 1949. A treaty of friendship was signed between the two countries in 1954.

Both India and Philippines share the experience of colonialism and its far-reaching consequences.

Arroyo who arrived in India on Thursday, earlier in the day was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, where she was welcomed by her Indian counterpart Pratibha Patil.


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